WESTMINSTER — AlpineGlo Farm has sold goat milk commercially for about five years now. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture just approved a new facility on the property for making goat cheese.
"That's been the plan for a few years. It's just taken a long time to build this. There's a lot of specs to build to," said farm founder Rachel Ware during a grand opening celebration on Saturday. "We just love goats and it was kind of like, 'What can we do with them beyond just pets?' It pretty much evolved."
In order for the farm to sell fresh cheese, it has to be pasteurized. Ware said purchasing the equipment to do so was the most difficult part of the process. Building the facility also required the farm to meet certain guidelines from the USDA.
The process started last spring.
"It was definitely an expensive project; that's why it took awhile," said Ware. "But we did it all ourselves."
Cheeses currently available through AlpineGlo are a couple varieties of chèvre and feta. Also being sold is a goat milk caramel sauce.
Halfway through the celebration, Ware estimated 50 people had visited the farm. The idea to host it came after a fun time was had at an event there last year.
"Last year, we were just like 'come play with baby goats' basically, and everybody likes to go play with them," said Ware, estimating about 30 goats including baby goats were on the property. "We'll sell a bunch of the babies. We try to keep it to 20 (goats)."
The farm plans to sell cheese at the farmers markets it participates in at Ludlow on Friday nights and Londonderry on Saturdays. A sales shed at the top of the Westminster farm's driveway allows customers to pick up product whenever they want.
Annually, about 100 chickens and four pigs are raised at AlpineGlo. Prepared foods, made with ingredients from the animals raised there, are sold at the farmers markets.
Ware said she is seeing a lot of support from the local community.
"People have been good and pushing for it," she said. "There's not really any other farm around that has goats. There's just not as many goat farms in this area. It seems to create a good draw just because it's a little different. It helps being so close to Bellows Falls because it's something convenient to town but people feel like they're getting to see something different."
Contact Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.